Monday, July 14, 2008

Bite-Size Desserts : Almond Marbles

Bite-Size Desserts : Almond Marbles / Almond Pops

Bite-Size Desserts topped the list of "WHAT"S HOT & HAPPENING" in a 2008 FOOD TRENDS SURVEY of chefs conducted by the National Restaurant Association. Tiny cakes, pastries, cookies, candies, and tarts are popping up on more and more menus in dining establishments everywhere. Instead of one dessert to end a delightful culinary experience, you dine on a "buffet" of smaller, one and two bite-size goodies.

It was at the seemingly endless grand buffets that we had during our recent trip to "The Sin City-Las Vegas" that totally attracted my attention to these tiny sinful treats. The bite-size versions allowed us to sample several items rather than one big entrée, even after you have gorged all the cusines imaginable right from american, italian, japanese, chinese and seafood cuisine's. This yummy, nutty dessert hails from France and adapted from C&Z. A little chewy, nutty marbles with a bit of chocolate are totally addictive. I bet you would enjoy the look of delight on the faces when you bring out the neatly arranged army of these tiny treats.

You'll Need:

Almonds, husked & toasted... 1 cup
Confectioner's Sugar.... 3/4 cup
Fine Sea Salt.... a pinch
Honey.... 2 tsp
Semi-Sweet Chocolate.... 3 ounce.

Here Is How:

1. Combine the toasted almonds, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a mixing bowl and form a well in the center. In a small bowl, combine the honey with 1 tablespoon hot water and stir to dissolve and pour into the center of the almond mixture.

2. Knead the almond paste for a minute or two, until it comes together and make it into a large ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to a day.

3. Remove from the fridge and scoop out small balls with your finger tips. Line them up on a plate and plant a wooden toothpick vertically in the center of each. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring from time to time.

5. Dip each of the marbles in the melted chocolate, holding it by the toothpick and swirling it around gently to coat. Set on the parchment paper, toothpick pointing skywards. Let it cool (but not in refrigerator) for 2 hours, until the chocolate coating is dry. The marbles will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature in an air tight container.

Makes about 25 marbles.